He Redeems Our Debts: The Benevolence of Amitabha Buddha
Buddha-Dharma is rooted in the principle of cause and effect, an unshakable law that no Dharma teaching can contradict. The practice that relies on Self-power, which the Sacred Path does, aligns with the rule: "You create a cause and bear its consequence." This means that individuals are accountable for the outcomes of their actions. Sowing virtuous causes leads to pleasant effects, while sowing malevolent causes results in bitter consequences. This concept, aptly named "we reap what we sow," rewards good deeds with positive outcomes and metes out corresponding repercussions for transgressions. We bear sole responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
The practice of Other-power, which the Pure Land Path is known for, operates in a unique manner: Amitabha Buddha redeems the debts we incur.” Over countless lifetimes, we accumulate immeasurable karmic debts from wrong-doings such as killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, verbal abuse, the five gravest transgressions and ten evil acts. These debts far exceed our ability to repay them, resulting in our endless suffering in samsara.
Amitabha Buddha compassionately bears our karmic burden, amassing merits on our behalf to repay what we owe. Hence, the notion: “He redeems our debts.”
Amitabha Buddha bears the consequences of our negative karma, settling our debts, and bestowing his accumulated virtue upon us.
The Infinite Life Sutra states:
“He shoulders the weighty karmic burdens for all sentient beings.”
The Sutra further states that:
“I shall open the Dharma store-house for the multitudes,
And endow them with treasures of merit.”
Amitabha built the Dharma store-house, that is the name of “Namo Amitabha Buddha”, making it universally available to sentient beings of the ten directions. He did that so that all of us can be liberated from the six realms of sufferings and be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
The same sutra also proclaims that:
“[Amitabha] always proclaims the Dharma to the multitudes, with the power and fearlessness of a lion’s roar.”
He tirelessly disseminates the salvation path of Amitabha-recitation to all sentient beings in the ten directions. He wants us to know that he will redeem our debts.
In the final analysis, the Pure Land Path still accords with the law of cause and effect. [The practice of Amitabha-recitation is the cause and the salvation by the Buddha is the effect].
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings